In an effort to take a stand against the current opioid crisis, the Sterling Heights City Council voted unanimously at a recent meeting to join a nationwide legal battle against opioid drug manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies.
At its Feb. 20 meeting, the Sterling Heights City Council voted unanimously to retain the services of nationally recognized Chicago-based mass tort law firm, Edelson P.C. to seek on behalf of the City “all remedies against opioid manufacturers and distributors who have harmed the city of Sterling Heights by promoting the excessive use of opioids.” Edelson, P.C. has also been retained by the City of Warren as well for representationt in the opiod litigation.
Over the past several months, state attorney generals, county executives, and local municipalities across the U.S. have filed lawsuits against various pharmaceutical companies, wholesale pharmaceutical distributors, and pharmacies for damages incurred as a result of responding to the rampant over-supply and distribution of opioids. This conduct is alleged to be fueling the opioid addiction epidemic that is overwhelming all levels of government.
According to the most recent data by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 11.5 million people misused prescription drugs in 2016 – and on average 116 people died every day from opioid-related drug overdoses. In total, according to the DHHS, more than 42,000 people in the U.S. died in 2016 from overdosing on opioids.
The State of Michigan has been particularly impacted by this national epidemic and is the 10th leading state in the country in 2016 for opioid use as measured by per capita prescription utilization according to the Center for Disease Control.
Sterling Heights has played a leading role trying to address the problem by convening a Call to Action at the VELOCITY Collaboration Center where over 100 Community leaders from across the County convened to launch the Hope Not Handcuffs initiative. Almost 1,000 individuals in Macomb County have received assistance through this program.
“This effort is ulimately one step forward in combatting this terrible crisis facing our Nation. Communities throughout the State of Michigan have seen dramatic increases in the amount of opioid addiction and overdoses from heroin and prescription drug abuse,” said Sterling Heights Mayor Michael Taylor. “We believe that the pharmaceutical industry played a key role in creating this national health crisis by pressured physicians into prescribing these drugs for long term chronic pain, without properly informing them of the risks of addiction.”
“This action joins several municipalities throughout Michigan and the United States aimed at changing the existing policies and practices of pharmaceutical companies,” said City Attorney Marc Kaszubski. “This is also an effort to recoup the costs associated with providing medical assistance, increased police intervention, and other costs incurred by the City to combat this epidemic from those who should be held accountable for their role in creating this national health crisis.”
Those with questions or those seeking more information can contact Community Relations Director Bridget Kozlowski at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (586) 446-2471.